Hall of Fame Gets Dillion Uniform
CINCINNATI (AP) _ Corey Dillon stood nearby in stocking feet, his lips drawn and eyes brimming, as the Pro Football Hall of Fame showed off its latest addition.
The jersey, pants and cleats that he wore when he rushed for an NFL-record 278 yards were presented to a Hall of Fame representative Thursday during an emotional news conference.
Dillon appeared humbled and overwhelmed by the latest recognition for breaking one of the game’s most cherished records _ Walter Payton’s 23-year-old mark of 275 yards.
``Not many athletes get the opportunity to get their uniform inducted into the Hall of Fame,″ Dillon said. ``It’s not an everyday thing. It’s special.
``These are the moments I’m going to remember for a lifetime. There are truly the highlights of my career and they’re going to stick with me until my resting day.″
Since he broke Payton’s mark during a 31-21 victory over Denver last Sunday, Dillon’s life has been a whirlwind of congratulations, interviews and honors.
The team recognized him Thursday with a plaque presented by coach Dick LeBeau, whose run-the-ball philosophy made the record possible. LeBeau looked Dillon in the eye and broke into a broad smile.
``Corey, we’re very, very proud of you,″ LeBeau said, before sharing a hug.
Dillon, wearing socks, black sweat pants and a black T-shirt that said ``Trust in God,″ stepped aside and became emotional after the presentation. Later, he noted that the team doesn’t often do special favors for its players.
``That’s why I’m honored to have it,″ said Dillon, who returned for his fourth season after a nasty contract negotiation last summer. ``For an accomplishment like this, they did what was right. I’m pleased and happy they did.″
Dillon then unveiled his uniform for Hall representative Joe Horrigan. The white numerals on his black No. 28 jersey still had mud stains, and the white pants showed dark green grass marks.
Dillon also donated his orange-and-white cleats. Horrigan noted that he showed up in stocking feet for the presentation.
``I sincerely hope that they do give you another pair,″ he joked.
Dillon is slightly superstitious _ since junior college, he has always worn a wrist band around his left ankle during games _ but he didn’t mind parting with the shoes.
``I’ll get another pair,″ he said. ``There’s nothing superstitious with the shoes. They’re going to a good place and that’s a good thing.″
They’re going to have company. Dillon’s uniform from his 246-yard game as a rookie, which broke Jim Brown’s record, is on temporary display in an area dedicated to current-day feats.
Horrigan said the uniform from the 278-yard game will become a mainstay.
``This is a serious record,″ he said. ``I don’t see this coming off of display for a significant time.″
Dillon said he’s still taken aback by what happened last Sunday and the way he’s now lumped with Payton, Brown and the greatest running backs in history.
``It’s funny that my name is even mentioned when I’m clearly not the caliber of player they were,″ he said. ``I mean, I hope to be. But as far as right now, I’m not even in their league. That’s something I want to work on. I want to be there with them when my career’s said and done.″